As Moscow Works In Close Rapport With Karabakh Separatists, Time To Slap Russia In The Face
The Kremlin has again acted irresponsibly towards the most reliable ally in the Caucasus – Azerbaijan, and has once again displayed that Russia has not learnt a lesson from its past and remained loyal to only own national interests. But this does and cannot work in the age of the bipolar world, and moreover, Azerbaijan does not depend on Russia economically and cannot sacrifice own interests for the sake of Moscow’s priorities.
A new diplomatic scandal is again brewing through the fault of Russia. We should recall that a two-day meeting of the Russian-Armenian Lazarev Club in Moscow on the topic “Economy, Investments, Integration. Prospects for the development of economic ties between Russia and Armenia" once again laid bare Russia’s treacherous role by inviting representatives of Azerbaijan’s separatist region.
The Moscow event saw invited representatives from Gazprom, Rosatom, Russian Railways, Russian Technologies along with Armenians’ close friend and former Soviet prime minister Nikolay Ryzhkov, pro-Armenian journalist Modest Kolerov and the former co-chairman of the Minsk Group from Russia Vladimir Kazimirov plus Russian president’s adviser Sergei Glazyev – direct proof that the Kremlin was in the loop about the event and invitees as well as those from breakaway Karabakh despite a denial by odious Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.
As was expected, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Konstantin Zatulin played a key role and delivered on hopes pinned by the Armenian lobby groups.
Levon Grigoryan, who called himself as “the minister of economy of Nagorno-Karabakh”, represented the breakaway region at the Moscow meeting of the Lazarev Club. And as was expected, he betrayed himself by saying Russia plays a big role in economic ties with the breakaway region of Azerbaijan.
“The situation greatly affects the economy, because we remain apart from those international institutional resources that are currently available worldwide. Our neighbor uses its presence in international organizations to periodically block our initiatives of an economic, political and social nature,” he said and then banally added that it is Russia that ranks first in the illegal foreign economic ties of the occupying regime. That is, call a spade a spade, Russia is actively participating in the plunder of Azerbaijani occupied lands.
Of course, with a certain political naivety, it can be considered that Zatulin is a member of parliament, which means that he has the right to a personal opinion, but taking into account the Russian realities and power vertical, inviting representatives of Azerbaijan’s separatist regime to the Lazarev Club meeting and despite Azerbaijan’s protests, the move is equal to betrayal and disrespect for international norms and principles, Russia allegedly invites other countries when it hurts its own interests.
Also the presence of Russian presidential aide Sergey Glazyev indicates the consent to attendance of Karabakh’s separatist representatives was issued at the highest possible level, not to mention the fact that Glazyev delivered a congratulatory message by the Kremlin big boss.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry twice urged Moscow not to invite separatists but it lied, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman claiming that there was no specific information on the participation of representatives of the breakaway region of Azerbaijan.
The Kremlin irresponsible attitude and longing to keep the conflict under own control and use it against the Azerbaijani state grossly contradict several priority principles Baku and Moscow undersigned that compel the both sides to remain loyal to contractual obligations. They are Moscow’s co-chairmanship role in the OSCE Minsk Group and Russia’s contractual obligations under several documents that call commitments in the framework of bilateral relations, in particular compliance with the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Security between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation from 1997, which specifically stated that the parties undertake not to support separatism.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov’s statement most of all reminds a clear signal to the world community: the responsibility for disrupting the promising mediation of the United States and for the current absurd statements of Yerevan lies with Russia. In the most “relaxed” version, the Kremlin has unique opportunities to influence Armenia as it has been and remains an outpost of Russia, and the main parameters of its policy are not determined at all in Yerevan, but in Moscow. But, it seems, they were clearly not ready for Elmar Mammadyarov to voice this circumstance at a meeting with Lajcak, who is not only the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, but also the Foreign Minister of Slovakia and a member of the EU and NATO.
And at a meeting with Russian envoy to Azerbaijan Bocharnikov, Elmar Mammadyarov also expressed concern about the participation of representatives of the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh at the meeting of the Russian-Armenian Lazarev Club in Moscow and stressed that this contradicts the legal framework that is the basis of Azerbaijani-Russia relations, and the role of the Russian Federation as a mediator in resolving the conflict.
What is crystal clear is that Russia had enough time to advise Zatulin not to invite representatives of the Karabakh occupation regime to the meeting of the Lazarev Club. But they didn’t even think about it as for Moscow at this stage the most important task is to dance to Yerevan’s pipe and keep it under control by sending weapons as gifts. The Kremlin realizes that the loss of Armenia will be a huge blow to Russia’s image and standing in the South Caucasus in particular and in the Middle East as a whole and casts doubts on its abilities to claim to the role of one of the leaders of the bipolar world it has been trying hard to restore. It was necessary to solve important problems on the Armenian direction. The Kremlin considers Armenia its outpost, but the relationship with Pashinyan and his team is not very good at this stage.
Nikol Pashinyan came to power under too much pro-Western "sauce", and he has plenty of former "grantees" in his team. The prime minister meets Russian orders only after outright pressure and Moscow, including Zatulin, support those from Karabakh who were overthrown by Pashinyan’s velvet revolution, who are dreaming of revenge with the help of Moscow.
By inviting the Karabakh separatist, Moscow directly or indirectly wanted and hoped to teach a lesson to an unnecessarily independent Azerbaijan, where there is some unheard-of “arrogance”, which dare to lay oil and gas pipelines and the railway line bypassing Russia. Moscow seems expected that they would keep silent in Baku. But they received a protest at a very serious level. During the apparent strengthening of the pro-Western course in the politics of Azerbaijan, official Baku has to act bravely and rely on own patriotic forces and most of all the army. Azerbaijan is also getting positive signals from Europe when it comes to the Karabakh conflict and it should build on this and finalize the signing of a major document – a roadmap that will determine Azerbaijan’s strategic choice and determination to stick to own priorities and national interests.
Today’s launch of a large-scale military drills along the occupied regions of Azerbaijan sends out strong signals to Russia, Armenia, Iran and other ill-wishers that time is running for Armenia to think once again prior to the army gets order to kick off a new and final phase for the liberation of the country’s violated territorial integrity.